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COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
TO YOUR FIRST DRONE

Whether you are a drone enthusiast, a photographer wanting to expand your kit and skills or just someone looking for a bit of airborne fun, we’ve got the drone to suit your needs. This buying guide from Drones Direct gives you all of the information you need when deciding which drone is right for you.

TYPES OF DRONE

There are many different types of drones out there, from the expensive models that are loaded with the latest technology, to cheaper drones that are fun to fly around at home and in the garden.

Types of Drones
Professional Use
Drones »
Advanced
Camera Drones »
Amateur
Camera Drones »
Racing
Drones »
Basic Camera
Drones »
Toy
Drones »

PROFESSIONAL USE
DRONES

Professional drones are better utilised by a pilot with some experience at the controls although some of the technologies included help to make flying incredibly easy. Designed for professional photographers, filmmakers, site assessors and more, these drones are the most advanced available, providing out of this world results. They offer an easier way of capturing imagery from hard-to-reach places.

With features including GPS and controllers that provide smooth and precise flight adjustment, they produce unrivalled results. Interchangeable gimbals, cameras and lenses mean these drones can be tweaked to help you achieve your desired goal. They also have extended battery lives and often more than one battery, so you can take to the skies for longer.

Professional drones lead the way in their technologies and shooting abilities, offering 4K footage and above.

Professional Drone
Flight Time » The flight time varies between the different types of drone and should be taken into account depending on how you intend to use your drone.
Generally, the bigger the drone, the longer it will fly for. Professional drones offer a flight time of up to 30 minutes while toy drones can only fly for around 7-9 minutes on a single charge. If you want to fly for longer, take extra batteries along with you.
Range » If you want to fly your drone for longer, consider checking it has interchangeable batteries. It is always good to have spare batteries with you to make the most out of your flying time. Great for professionals, swapping the battery can help you strive for that perfect shot.
Camera Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
Video Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
DJI Inspire 1
DJI inspire 1
18 mins
2,000km
Up to 16MP
4K 30fps
DJI Inspire 2
DJI inspire 2
27 mins
13,000m
20MP
5.2k 30fps
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
30 mins
13,000m
20MP
4k 60fps
Typhoon H Pro
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
25 mins
500m
12MP
4k 30fps

ADVANCED
CAMERA DRONES

Advanced drones are the stepping stone between professional drones and beginner drones.

Often featuring similar technologies to professional drones such as obstacle avoidance and return to home, these drones perform incredibly well and are perfect for serious and keen amateur photographers. They are also ideal for business use, if you don’t want to break the bank, bringing a brilliant return on investment.

Great for flying outdoors, their bigger and heavier design can withstand breezy conditions, helping you to capture incredible bird’s-eye views.

Many advanced drones are equipped with a powerful camera with the ability to shoot in outstanding 1080p Full HD. Some offer ultra-sharp 2.7K or even 4K resolution. Those that are not provided with a camera usually have a mount suitable for attaching action cameras such as GoPro, putting you in control over the shooting quality.

Advanced Drone
Flight Time » The flight time varies between the different types of drone and should be taken into account depending on how you intend to use your drone.
Generally, the bigger the drone, the longer it will fly for. Professional drones offer a flight time of up to 30 minutes while toy drones can only fly for around 7-9 minutes on a single charge. If you want to fly for longer, take extra batteries along with you.
Range » If you want to fly your drone for longer, consider checking it has interchangeable batteries. It is always good to have spare batteries with you to make the most out of your flying time. Great for professionals, swapping the battery can help you strive for that perfect shot.
Camera Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
Video Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
DJI Phantom 4
DJI Phantom 4 Range
28 mins
2,000m
12MP
4k 30fps
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
24 mins
2,000m
12MP
4k 30fps
DJI Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro
27 mins
13,000m
12MP
4k 30fps
Typhoon Q500 4K
Typhoon Q500 4K
25 mins
500m
12MP
4k 30fps

AMATEUR
CAMERA DRONES

STILL NEED TEXTS!!! Professional drones are better utilised by a pilot with some experience at the controls although some of the technologies included help to make flying incredibly easy. Designed for professional photographers, filmmakers, site assessors and more, these drones are the most advanced available, providing out of this world results. They offer an easier way of capturing imagery from hard-to-reach places.

With features including GPS and controllers that provide smooth and precise flight adjustment, they produce unrivalled results. Interchangeable gimbals, cameras and lenses mean these drones can be tweaked to help you achieve your desired goal. They also have extended battery lives and often more than one battery, so you can take to the skies for longer.

Professional drones lead the way in their technologies and shooting abilities, offering 4K footage and above.

Amateur Drone
Flight Time » The flight time varies between the different types of drone and should be taken into account depending on how you intend to use your drone.
Generally, the bigger the drone, the longer it will fly for. Professional drones offer a flight time of up to 30 minutes while toy drones can only fly for around 7-9 minutes on a single charge. If you want to fly for longer, take extra batteries along with you.
Range » If you want to fly your drone for longer, consider checking it has interchangeable batteries. It is always good to have spare batteries with you to make the most out of your flying time. Great for professionals, swapping the battery can help you strive for that perfect shot.
Camera Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
Video Quality » Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:
Resolution
For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.
Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.
Phantom 3 Standard
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
25 mins
500m
12MP
2.7k 30fps
Parrot Bebop 2
Parrot Bebop 2
25 mins
300m
14MP
1080p 30fps
DJI Spark
DJI Spark
16 mins
1,900m
12MP
1080p 30fps
Yuneec Breeze
Yuneec Breeze
12 mins
200m
13MP
4k 30fps

RACING
DRONES

Drone competition is becoming more popular, with official races being organised worldwide so, what makes a good racing or stunt drone?

Built for speed, these drones can reach speeds of up to 80mph. Their small bodies help to make them extremely agile which is fantastic for shooting around corners. With such high flying speeds, it is important for these drones to be responsive, helping you to stay in control and get back into the race.

If racing isn’t your thing, stunt drones are exciting and can be thrown around the air to produce awesome routines and displays. With 360-degree control, stunt drones are brilliant to flip and roll through the sky.

See Our Racing Drone Range »
Amateur Drone

BASIC
CAMERA DRONES

A great way to get into drone flying, basic camera drones offer good flying abilities to help you get accustomed to the art. They offer more basic technologies, although some of these drones can be surprisingly powerful and can even include high end features such as collision avoidance or an adjustable camera.

With a low resolution camera built in, basic camera drones give you the ability to enter the world of aerial photography without breaking the bank.

See Our Basic Camera Drone Range »
Amateur Drone

TOY
DRONES

A great way to get into drone flying, basic camera drones offer good flying abilities to help you get accustomed to the art. They offer more basic technologies, although some of these drones can be surprisingly powerful and can even include high end features such as collision avoidance or an adjustable camera.

With a low resolution camera built in, basic camera drones give you the ability to enter the world of aerial photography without breaking the bank.

See Our Toy Drone Range »
Amateur Drone

FAQS FOR DRONES

» What is a drone?

The term drone is widely used to describe unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Basically a “drone” is a flying robot that can fly autonomously with software controlled flight plans or from a remote control device. Other names for drones often include: Multirotor, Quadcopter, Hexacopter, Octocopters and Whizboppers.

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» Are drones hard to fly?

With GPS position hold (like in your Sat-Nav) standard on most consumer drones these days, multirotors are becoming a lot easier to fly than days gone buy. The learning curve for lightweight drones is around two weeks for someone to feel confident flying and filming, This would obviously depend on if the Pilot has previous experience with model aircrafts.

First time drone pilots should practise in large open fields, keeping the drone in the right orientation and at a safe height. That being said with better technology coming out every year, drones are begginning to become smarter and thus much easier to fly. As a general rule of thumb, Ready-To-Fly drones are generally aimed towards everyone, be they beginner or advanced.

You can see our full range of Ready-To-Fly drones right HERE.

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» Do I need a license to fly a drone?

The drone laws in Europe differ from country to country and are changing frequently, It is important to know what laws are in effect in your region. Most countries allow private use of lightweight drones under 2kg (e.g DJI Phantom, Parrot BeBop, Yuneec Typhoon) to be used in open areas 150m from cities, towns and anywhere that is not populated and 8km away from any airport. It is the pilots responsibility to know and respect the law with drones in your region. Click here to view our handy guide to the UK flying guidelines or for the most recent information you can visit the Civil Aviation Authorities website here.

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» What is a normal flight time of a camera drone?

Flight time differs from drone to drone depending on battery size, most ready to fly drones that carry a GoPro or camera, such as the DJI Phantom 3 will fly for around 25 minutes. Larger drones designed for heavy lifting or commercial use will have a flight time of around 15 - 20 minutes.

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» What does FPV mean?

FPV stands for First Person View, Basically FPV means you see what your drone is seeing, by having a video downlink from the camera on the drone transmitting the signal to your LCD monitor or Smart phone/tablet (on drones with that feature). This is an essential addition to any videographer ‘s drone setup.

You can see our entire range of FPV Drones right here.

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» What is the best camera drone?

Just like the old saying “the best camera is the one you have with you” this can apply to camera drones as well, with a few exceptions the best camera drone (for video/photography) will have a stabilising gimbal, a decent flight range, a high resolution 4K and some sort of FPV feature.

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» How do I choose the best camera drone for me?

The first thing to think about when buying your camera drone is what do you want to achieve with it? Do you want to fly with FPV for fun around your farm? or do you want to make high quality aerial video’s for a career.

Entry level drones such as the ProFlight Seeker are a great low cost option to get you into the Drone game and learn the basics. However while these are very accessible they are not really designed to make high quality videos.

If high quality videos is your goal then prosumer drone’s like the DJI Phantom 3, Parrot BeBop or Yuneec Typhoon are a great place to start, Some amazing aerials can be achieved with these drones and their integrated cameras or even with a Go-Pro.

The next step up would be a heavy lift hex or octocopter that has the power to lift heavier cameras and pro gimbals, These are for professionals who intend to make a career out of aerial photography/videography. The investment can be large but the returns from commercial work are substantial. If this is something you want to work towards then the best course of action is to contact us.

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» What does “aerial photography” mean?

Anything shot from the air, whether it be video or photos can be called aerial photography, In the past the most common Aerial photography was done in helicopters, now with powerful battery powered multi-rotors on the market, aerial photography is more accessible than ever before.

To see our most popular aerial photography drones you can click here.

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» What are the differences between quad-, hex- and octo copters?

The name says it all, A quadcopter had four rotors (quad) a hexacopter has 6 rotors (hex) and octocopter has eight, rotors (octo).

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» So what's the advantage of having more Rotors?

More rotors = more lift, more rotors also make a craft more stable power, Pro level Aerial drones often have more rotors for lifting heavy cameras. Other advantage of 6 or more rotors is the fact that some crafts can still fly if a motor or ESC (electronic speed controller) decides to stop working mid flight, While it’s not ideal most crafts with this amount of rotors can usually make it home, this is not the case with quadcopters.

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» Who are the largest drone manufacturers?

DJI is reported to be the most complete commercial drone manufacturer on the market and the DJI Phantom 3 or DJI Inspire 1 is the drone of choice for filmmakers , The company has started pouring much of its resources into the U.S. market, betting that the FAA will relax rules in 2016. Other competition to the offerings of DJI consist of Parrot or Yuneec who both offer brilliant drones at much more wallet friendly prices.

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» How high can drones fly?

This depends on the range of your drone, Most consumer drones Eg The DJI Phantom 3 Standard have a range between 500 -1000 meters. The Phantom 3 Advanced & Phantom 3 Professional editons both have ranges of around 2KM though which is brilliant for surveying landscapes bear in mind that in the UK the CAA guidelines say you shouldn't fly higher than 120M from ground level. 

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» Can I fly a drone above the sea?

The short answer to this question is yes, but keep in mind sea spray can be very corrosive to electronics and motor windings, Its a good idea to keep you drone well up and out of the way of waves, drones are not commonly waterproof.

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» Can I fly a drone in the mountains?

Yes for sure, There is nothing better than flying in the mountains! Keep your mind on the job and be aware of weather changes that could catch you out!

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» What does heavy lift drone mean?

The term heavy lift drone refers to a multi rotor that can take off and carry a large amount of weight, usually more than the total weight of the actual craft. Heavy lift drones usually have larger props and batteries than hobby drones.

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» What does take off weight mean?

Take off weight means the total weight the drone can take off with including the weight of itself. So for example a drone that weighs 5 kg and has a take off weight of 10kg will be able to lift a 5 kg payload (canon 5dmkiii for example)./p>

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THINGS TO CONSIDER

FLYING TIME

The flight time varies between the different types of drone and should be taken into account depending on how you intend to use your drone.

Generally, the bigger the drone, the longer it will fly for. Professional drones offer a flight time of up to 30 minutes while toy drones can only fly for around 7-9 minutes on a single charge. If you want to fly for longer, take extra batteries along with you.

BATTERIES

If you want to fly your drone for longer, consider checking it has interchangeable batteries. It is always good to have spare batteries with you to make the most out of your flying time. Great for professionals, swapping the battery can help you strive for that perfect shot.

FLIGHT RANGE

Again, this depends on how you intend to use your drone. If you are going for dramatic aerial photography, it is important that your drone has a greater flight range. Professional drones can be flown to a range of up to 2km, while advanced drones have a range of around 500m. By law, you should always keep your drone in sight, so it is important to check the laws in any country if you intend to take it abroad.

CAMERAS

Not all drones come with cameras, some are too small or just don’t need them. Consider the following if you definitely want a camera on your drone:

Resolution

For beginners, anything from 2MP will provide decent quality photos and videos. If you are more serious about your results, consider anything up to 2.7K or even 4K for an incredible cinematic effect.

Full HD 1080p resolution is ideal for creating home or holiday videos.

Stabilisation

You want your footage to be smooth, without jittery results. Cameras with stabilisation features such as gimbals increase the price of a drone, but that pays off with the incredible final result. Smoother results can be achieved mechanically or digitally, producing amazing results.

FIRST PERSON VIEW

Allows you to see exactly what the drone sees in real time by using the on-board camera. Video is streamed either to a built in display on the controller or to your smartphone or tablet. This is a make or break feature, helping you to guide your camera to the perfect position.

GPS

Global Satellite Positioning helps you to locate your drone, as well as aiding the on board software to generate automatic flight paths. The return to home function brings your drone back to where it took off from with the flick of a switch.

REPAIRS

There is always the potential of crashes and collisions with drone flying. Most drones come with a second set of propellers, but it is worth choosing a drone which has easy-to-find spare parts if a repair is needed. Consider buying a drone with a brushless motor for a longer overall lifespan. Brushed motors do not last as long and, although they can be replaced at a low cost, this can be fiddly and not worth the trouble.

SPEED

There is always the potential of crashes and collisions with drone flying. Most drones come with a second set of propellers, but it is worth choosing a drone which has easy-to-find spare parts if a repair is needed. Consider buying a drone with a brushless motor for a longer overall lifespan. Brushed motors do not last as long and, although they can be replaced at a low cost, this can be fiddly and not worth the trouble.

If you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0871 971 3141.

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